Texas Wesleyan’s Student Government Association passed a resolution on Oct. 26 calling for the campus administration to work out the problems the organization has with the Student Development Fund.
The resolution states that SGA is “deeply disturbed by the current state of the Texas Wesleyan University Student Development Fund, hereby referred to as the ‘The Fund,’ including the lack of a coherent process, insufficient publicity of the Fund, the absence of a full student board, and overall unproductivity.”
SGA President Zahraa Saheb said a resolution is a document SGA passes to express concern toward an issue discovered by the SGA members or brought to them by students.
“This resolution specifically is basically calling on the administration to basically take a more proactive stance in solidifying and creating a better process for the student development funds,” Saheb said. “We do not believe that a process is in existence.”
Earlier in the semester, SGA treasurer Clarissa Murillo, a senior theater major, announced that the budget was cut by around $50,000. In an email published in a previous issue of The Rambler, Hall wrote that the restructure of the budget came after SGA’s budget was reviewed.
The money instead went to Student Development Funds, Signature Events, CampusLabs and Intramurals, Hall wrote.
“While there is noticeable change to the SGA budget, the same amount of funds will be available to support student activities as before, though the process by which those funds are dispersed has changed,” he wrote.
As a student who has served in student government, Saheb said, she wants someone to provide funding for a multitude of services, such as conferences, scholarships, and events on campus. If SGA will not be doing this, she wants a system in place that will handle such needs.
Saheb said she finds it frustrating and heartbreaking to see that this isn’t happening.
“We have a high influx of students emailing us all the time like, ‘Hey, we need funding for this and that,’ and we are having to direct them to the Student Development Fund,” she said. “So really, it is our duty to make sure they are receiving this funding and their concerns are being heard.”
However, Saheb said SGA is now being told it is the Student Development Fund’s place to hear those concerns, not them. The Oct. 26 resolution was passed because SGA feels the Student Development Fund personnel are not listening to the concerns.
With the resolution, Saheb said, SGA is hoping the administration will listen to their recommendations in making the funding process more transparent and coherent and ready to provide service to the students.
According to Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dennis Hall, a Student Advisory Board is in place to handle student requests for funding.
On Monday he wrote in an email that students and organizations can start the process by filling out the online application, which includes a series of questions, under “Get Funded” on the Student Life tab on txwes.edu.
“The application is then reviewed by the members of the Student Advisory Board,” Hall wrote. “The Advisory Board then makes a recommendation to the administration working with the fund, Dr. Gary Stout. Dr. Stout then makes the necessary arrangements to distribute funding as approved.”
Since the fund has been established, Hall wrote, the fund received applications that would impact 54 individual students.
“A number of these requests have been approved,” Hall wrote.
Sophomore business major and SGA At-Large Representative Francia Hernandez said one thing that bothered her about the Student Development Fund was lack of publicity.
“I personally haven’t seen anything like, ‘Oh, you need funding for this, go to this,’ or any information. I think it was lacking a lot and the resolution offered that,” Hernandez said.
SGA Executive Board Event Coordinator Julian Hobdy, senior religion major, found that the current system in place has holes in it and could have been executed in a way to move everyone forward together.
“I can appreciate the university wanting to utilize resources the way that they are, but I think it has been kind of disjunct and a little bit disruptive,” Hobdy said.
Hobdy said he hopes that through the resolution students will be served.
“I understand that the resolution essentially is SGA’s opinion for it, so the person with the funds has the ability to determine what they want,” he said. “Ultimately, what I want us to see are students applied for funds, get the funds as needed.”
Hobdy said he feels the most important thing for everyone, on SGA and not on SGA, is to consider that they are all working toward getting to the same place; they just have different ideas on how to get there.
“My hope is that in our discussions, all of us discuss with one charitably, recognizing that we all have the same goal in mind,” he said.
For other organizations whose funding has been cut or have been directed in a way that sets them up for failure, Saheb recommends that they speak out and let SGA know their concerns.
“I would encourage these organizations to come to student government at the weekly meetings, talk with us and let us know what is going on,” Saheb said. “We are happy to pass resolutions and to call administration to action.”